Outline the Argument That Supermarket Power Is a ‘Zero-Sum Game’

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Outline the argument that supermarket power is a ‘zero-sum game’ It is argued that supermarket power dominates the grocery industry and limits consumer choice. The big four supermarkets, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Morrisons, with over 9,190 stores nationwide, entice the public to spend almost three out of every four pounds spent groceries in their stores. This essay will outline the argument that supermarket power is a zero sum game, a situation were one participant's gains result from another participant's equivalent losses (Wrong cited in Allen, 2009, p.70) This argument will show how consumers, the high street, suppliers and their workforces are the lossers. Supermarkets assert that their market power results in a positive-sum game, a situation where all groups participating benefit to some degree, supermarkets claim they provides choice to consumers, and are not a threat to the high street. They also claim to benefit local communities by encouraging retail revatilisation in previously run down areas thus creating new jobs. However in reality the market power of supermarkets, enables them to affect prices and dominate advertising, producing an environment in which independent shops and stores cannot compete and thrive. As a result 2000 independent local grocers are closing each year, conversely the big four supermarkets have doubled their number of stores (Federation of Small Businesses, cited in Allen, 2009, p.74) Hence by dominating food sales, supermarkets take away consumer choice to shop in traditional establishments such as greengrocers and butchers. Journalist Joanna Blythman has highlighted Dundee in Scotland as representative of changes occurring in UK city centres (Blythman, cited in Allen, 2009, p.74). Her investigations show a fraction of local traditional grocers remain, however there are four Tescos, two Asdas, one Morrisons, one Sainsbury’s,

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